Ever since I can remember I’ve had a question on my tongue. When I was younger I kept a lot of these questions to myself and simply pondered them in my heart.
My father was an inquisitive man and he taught us how to ask questions. He regularly drilled us with questions after we watched a movie, “What’s the message in this movie? What did you learn?” I would sit at the dinner table regularly debating about everything under the sun.
Well, around my high school/college years my question began getting me in trouble. They were no longer looked upon as inquisitive or insightful they were suddenly viewed as a form of questioning authority or overstepping my role and they were not welcomed.
I have always tried to be respectful when I ask questions or when I want to address a topic so it was shocking to me that I would offend people by simply asking a question. I remember asking a doctor some questions about his observations from my appointment and he was so annoyed with me. He basically told me I could go see another doctor if that made me feel better. Wow! In some way, I would even say the church denomination I grew up it was frowned upon when women asked questions.
Good questions get to the heart of issues
While I was in college I had the joy of meeting a white-haired man who was the newly hired pastor at my church. He not only welcomed my questions but we would meet regularly and he would ask me this question– How’s your heart? It was one of my favorites.
In our time we discussed his upcoming sermon and we debated about theology to my heart’s content. I loved a good debate so this meeting time I had with him was something I treasured. He and his wife quickly became some of my good friends. He actually performed our wedding and we still keep in touch.
Questions have always been a way for me to get to know people, it’s how I process (but not always out loud), it’s how I identify problems, understand hard things, come up with ideas and sometimes it’s what God uses to speak to me.
Speaking of God. I want to add that God is not frightened by our questions. We can come to Him with our questions. The reality is He already knows them even when we choose to keep them to ourselves. So come to Him with your pondering, confused, doubtful, and intrigued heart.
A Week of Asking Questions
So today when I came across this beautiful story by the author of Desperaux Katie DiCamillo. She talked about a 5th grade boy who came up to her at a book signing and said, “My teacher said fifth grade is the year of asking questions.
“Really?” I said.“Yeah,” he said. He took out a notebook. “Every day we’re supposed to ask someone different a good question and listen really good and then write down the answer when they’re done talking.”
“My question is how do you get all that hope into your stories?” “That’s not a good question,” I said. “That’s a great question. Let me think. Um. I guess that writing the story is an act of hope, and so even when I don’t feel hopeful, writing the story can lead me to hope. Does that make sense?”
Ask Someone a Really Good Question
Isn’t that a wonderful practice? Let’s add this to our daily routine–Ask someone a really good question, listen really good and then write down the answer…
Well, you may be thinking, “What’s a really good question?”
Have you heard the saying, “No question is a dumb question?” There may be some truth to this statement but I think in life we sometimes ask “dumb” questions simply because we didn’t take the time to think about what we wanted to know. So keep reading because I will share a few good questions that you can keep in your back pocket.
So I propose that this week we do these two things:
- Ask someone a really good question.
- Listen really well.
The author DiCamillo ends her post with this,
Maybe this is a time to start asking good questions, a time to write down the answers, a time to listen to each other really well.
What’s a Really Good Question?
The questions I share below vary from simple to deep. Many of these are good starting points that can lead to more questions. If you listen well you will know what to ask next. Sometimes it can be as simple as rephrasing what they just said or saying “Oh, wow! And what else?” or “What’s on your mind?”.
I love using some of these questions to my children and spouse. You can use these questions with your co-workers, strangers, family and friends.
- Were you named after anyone in particular?
- Were your parents strict or lenient?
- What did you find to be the most difficult part about growing up? Being a teen? A young married? An empty nester? A college student…
- When are you the happiest?
- How’s your heart?
- What was your favorite Bible story as a kid?
- Did you have a nickname as a kid? How did you get that name?
- What’s something embarrassing that you’ve done?
- What advice have you received that has stuck with you?
- Which of your accomplishments are you most proud of?
- Do you think you’re beautiful?
- What verse in the Bible has influenced you?
- What hobby have you wanted to develop?
- What’s your favorite series to watch?
- What are you reading lately?
- What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
- When did you come to know Christ as your Savior?
- What was your first impression of me?
- Where did you grow up?
- Do you remember your first crush? date?
- If you wrote a book what would the title be?
- What’s missing in your life right now?
- What are you grateful for today?
- Where do you go when you need peace?
- What was/is your favorite childhood book?
This week make it your focus to ask one good question to your spouse, neighbor, friend, children or stranger. And don’t forget–listen really well. You’ll be surprised by how much you learn about a person when you listen.